The Role of Teachers in Modern Education
The way we teach children has stagnated for many years. The teacher stands at the front of the classroom, in front of a whiteboard or blackboard, and relays information for children to learn by rote. Success is judged on their ability to retain this information and convey it within a strict time constraint. While this method might produce academically smart children, they may end up lacking in other skills that are vital in this age to make them employable. Let’s ask ourselves, isn’t it time we brought education into the 21st century?
Today, teachers do more for our children than simply teach them. Often, they are also a parent, a friend, a counsellor, a disciplinarian. Their job is not only to educate our children but also to counsel them, to be their friend when they need one, to be a shoulder to cry on, to help them become valuable members of our society.
It’s time for teachers to embrace their new role in the classroom as a mentor to children. Teachers can guide students by being a positive role model for them, particularly for children that don’t have this positive influence at home. By incorporating a teacher-mentor mentality in the classroom, teachers can coach students and encourage them to adapt learning methods that suit their own learning style, thus challenging them and inspiring them to learn.
The world is changing – we have seen huge technological changes over the past few years, allowing for the introduction of global influences and access that would have been unheard of 30 years ago. So many children have a smartphone in their pocket, giving them 24/7 access to the information highway of the internet. Everything they can possibly want to know can be found out on a Wikipedia page, so how can a teacher possibly hope to compete with that? As they get older, students soon find that they can skip going to lectures as they can access the same information online in Youtube videos and webpages.
With this in mind, it’s time we realised we need to change the way we teach our children to stay up-to-date. Perhaps students can find out everything about a subject online, but that may not be the most thought-provoking and interesting way to learn the material. This is where teachers can step in, to present the material in a new way. Technology can be used to guide the students’ learning and engage them in lessons, rather than simply to provide them with the knowledge, changing the role of teacher from the ‘font of all knowledge’ or an instructor, to a mentor/coach. This leads to a student who is more conscious of their learning, more independent and active in the process, and hopefully inspires them to become lifelong learners.
No longer do we need to rely only on the syllabus to impart our knowledge to students. Globalisation is opening up a whole new world for students, giving them access and information they could only have dreamed of a mere 30 years ago. It is time teachers move away from teaching what to think and learn, to showing students how to think and how to learn.